He was wrong. There was no way. First of all, the man died more than 50 years ago. Secondly, what would Clark Gable be doing in Vancouver? He placed the purloined poster and frame on his dinner table. The cracked and aged wooden surface of the table blended in well with the poster design. This piece of appropriated art belonged in his apartment, at least it felt like it did.
“The frame,” Barry said out loud to absolutely nobody. “Clark Gable, or, a police officer who looked like Clark Gable touched the frame. His fingerprints must be on there.” No sooner did the thought cascade from his mouth to his brain, did he realize how absolutely ridiculous that ideation was. Even if it really was Clark Gable, if somehow, a man who’s been dead for 50 years had ran into him, and allowed him to walk off with a stolen picture, so what?
His cell phone beckoned with the sounds of Christmas. It was June. He needed to change that tone. Barry reached into the shallow pockets of his grey twill coat and pulled out a modest cell phone. It didn’t have a large screen with six million colours. It didn’t have a connection to the internet. It had a dial pad, a send button, and an end button. Low tech cell phone. There’s an oxymoron for you.
“Hello, Barry speaking.”
“Oh hey there Barry. How are you?”
Barry recognized the voice, but he didn’t really.
“Hi, I am good. Who is this?”
“Oh geez Barry. You are a character you know that?”
Barry knew that … that drawl in the man’s speech. He had heard it a dozen times, but it wasn’t someone he knew. Not personally.
“Well anyways Barry, I was just in the neighbourhood and I thought, you know who I haven’t seen in a while? Barry! And why, he lives just up in that apartment over there.”
“Yes Barry. Goodness, did you really not recognize my voice over the telephone?”
“Gosh, now I know you’re just pulling my leg.”
Barry didn’t understand. None of his friends knew who Jimmy Stewart was, and even if they did, they couldn’t pull off an impression like this. He didn’t know what to say. That’s because he didn’t really know what was happening.
“Well, what do you say Barry? Or do you have a girl up there and maybe I should leave you alone?” Jimmy asked with a chuckle. The kind of chuckle that comes from a polite, shy, and honest middle class man.
“Nothing bad can come from this right?” thought Barry. “Really, what is the worse that can happen? He will meet some guy who does a great Jimmy Stewart impression. He’s had worse nights.”
“Uh, no Jimmy, no girl. Just…” Barry couldn’t find the words to string together. “Just…haven’t heard from you in a long time. You caught me by surprise, that’s all.”
“Oh well, it hasn’t been that long has it. Anyhow, that’s real great to hear. Let me swing by the market and pick up something for us to drink. I will be there in a short while.”
“Yeah, sure. See you soon Jimmy.”
“Alright Barry, I will see you real soon.”
Barry put his cell phone back in his pocket. He looked around his apartment. The floor was clean, there was nothing was sitting in the sink, and he barely had any furniture to attract dust. He was ready as he could be.
With nothing to do, Barry sat down at his dining chair…and waited.